Thursday, March 8, 2007

Looking Your Age

Trawling dating websites looking for an appealing late-40s to early-50s man can be a depressing experience. Most of them are older, uglier, and less fit then the women who are looking for them, yet those same men specify wanting women who are younger than themselves. What's up? What on earth do they see in the mirror?

Women that same age see something entirely different in every reflective surface they pass by. And they feel pressure to do something about the changes they see. The mere availability of procedures has heightened the pressure on women to consider a level of intervention that until recently was indulged in by only the famous or the rich. Women in America are involved in an internal debate, a negotiation with appearance, about how much they are willing to intervene.

Even AARP, the bastion to combat ageism, is jumping on the bandwagon with this month's magazine: Look Younger Now: Erase Ten Years (or More)! Is looking one's age something to be disdained, just on principle? Or a matter to be treated like shaving or a manicure? And where do you draw the line and why? Hip haircut? color? teeth whitened? veneers? or the blue plate special: head-to-toe surgery?

Three of the most recognized women in power today, Hillary Rodham Clinton (59), Oprah Winfrey (52), and Condoleezza Rice (53), have each answered the question in different ways.

Hillary Clinton has long been accused of having plastic surgery performed on her face, most loathsomely by John Spenser. Clinton adviser Howard Wolfson says she has had no plastic surgery or similar work. As an elected official, she's very well styled, her makeup and hair are perfect, and with good lighting she photographs well. Or not. She shows no obvious signs of a traditional cut and drape facelift. She did, however, seek out plastic surgery consultations and a lot is possible without obvious scarring. The surgeons' gossip is that work was done during & after the impeachment period when she was out of the public eye. If she has chosen an intervention, it was done very discreetly.

Billionaire Oprah Winfrey (52) can afford anything. While she has explored the topic on her show, Oprah categorically denies having any plastic or gastric surgery. Given her brilliant smile and difficult childhood, she most likely has had her teeth capped and probably subscribes to the usual Hollywood upkeep of botox. Her on-air and covergirl personna is carefully crafted to make the most of her looks. But remember, it takes hours, hours, of prep at the hands of professionals to achieve that glamour.

Condi Rice (53) is often caricatured for her gap tooth smile & famously furrowed glabellar scowl. But she's a natural: that's all original equipment there and she does her own hair and makeup. (None of these three women wear their hair naturally.) Her African-American heritage gives her an edge: her skin is thicker and less prone to wrinkling at any age, even with the cares of state.

At 50 you don't feel old. Where do you draw the line about looking your age? The
Dove Pro-age campaign wants you to embrace middle age, even if broadcasters won't. Pro-age is about aging in the best way possible. Bobbi Brown in her new book Living Beauty advises that drastic changes are not needed. You are not walking the red carpet nor appearing on prime time media outlets, so "let go of some of the pressure," says Brown. Use any of the options available that you feel comfortable with– but remember, it's not about defying age, turning back the hands of time, or looking 10 years younger.

It's about looking good at the age you are.

Want this look?
According to technique a facial plastic surgeon may charge: standard face lift $6,000-$15,000; midface lift $4,000-$10,000; threadlift face lift $2,000-$6000. In addition, eyelid surgery, brow lift surgery, and facial liposuction can be performed and increase the cost of treatment.

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